Trump to rally in South Carolina, taking aim at two House Republicans

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On the eve of his Saturday evening rally in Florence, South Carolina, former President Donald Trump made it crystal clear why he’s heading to the Palmetto State.

“Big rally in South Carolina this weekend. Will be honoring Katie Arrington, who is running against the absolutely horrendous Nancy Mace, and Russell Fry, who is likewise running against ‘does not have a clue’ Tom Rice.”

Rice was one of only 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach the then-president for inciting the deadly Jan. 6, 2021 storming of the US Capitol by right wing extremists and other Trump supporters who aimed to disrupt congressional certification of now-President Biden’s 2020 election victory. And the rally is being held in the state’s 7th Congressional District, which he’s represented for a decade. Rice is facing a primary challenge from the Trump-backed Fry.

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Mace was one of the earliest supporters of Trump’s successful 2016 campaign to win the White House. But while the freshman House lawmaker did not vote to impeach Trump 14 months ago, she did publicly say that his rhetoric leading up to the storming of the Capitol “put all of our lives at risk.”

And in October, Mace was the lone South Carolina Republican to join congressional Democrats in voting to hold former Trump White House senior aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena issued by the House select committee investigating the riot at the Capitol.

Last month, in a video Mace recorded in front of Trump Tower in New York City and posted to social media, she highlighted her support for the former president and argued that Democrats would likely recapture South Carolina’s coastal-based 1st Congressional District if the Trump- backed Arrington wins the June GOP primary.

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Republican Gov. Henry McMaster of South Carolina, state GOP chair Drew McKissick, and college football coaching legend Lou Holtz, who steered the University of South Carolina football team from 1999-2004, are among the other speakers at the rally.

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Canyon Moon Ranch festival grounds in Florence, Arizona, southeast of Phoenix, on Jan.  15, 2022.

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Canyon Moon Ranch festival grounds in Florence, Arizona, southeast of Phoenix, on Jan. 15, 2022.
(ROBYN BECK / AFP via Getty Images)

Trump remains the most popular and influential politician in the Republican Party as he continues to play a kingmaker’s role in the GOP 2022 primaries and repeatedly teases another run for the White House in 2024. And South Carolina plays an important role in presidential politics, as it holds the first southern primary and votes third in the GOP’s presidential nominating calendar.

Dave Wilson – the president of the Columbia, South Carolina based conservative Christian nonprofit the Palmetto Family Council – told Fox News that Trump’s rally “is much about impacting Washington DC in 2022 as it is about 2024.”

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He suggested that Trump could use the rally to “see exactly where the voters are to make an informed choice about what he’s going to do in 2024.”

And Wilson spotlighted that anyone interested in running for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination “recognizes the importance of South Carolina” and “how important South Carolina is to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue becoming your place of residence.”

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